Connor Gordon - UK Commercial Photographer


Blog - Connor Gordon Photography

Kentucky Interview with Clay Cook


What do you do when you see this on Instagram?


You first consider what moving to the states means, then apply anyway.

Just over a month later and I’m on a plane, then another and finally another to land in Louisville some 20 hours later, for a week’s stay in Clay Cook’s studio. Time to sleep off the jet lag, but first, to a winery to combine jet lag with Kentucky Bourbon at a Tops Magazine party.

This was a big deal for me, I wouldn’t consider myself particularly well-travelled, having only left the UK once as a child. Now I’d just travelled almost 5,000 miles for an interview with somebody I’d never met before. I’d planned to sacrifice travel for working hard until it would be photography that would allow me to travel, finally having the work payoff was a relief and reassurance.

Birmingham - Amsterdam - Atlanta - Kentucky

The week was a chance to get to know Clay, his team and what could potentially become my new home for a year, and it wouldn’t be a bad place to call home; good people, food I could eventually get used to and a town that always has a place to be. I got a great phrase from a past intern; ‘You become the average of the five people you are around the most’. In an environment constantly surrounded by creatives of a completely different calibre, your drive becomes a concentrated form of what is was before. You can make any shoot and any concept a reality.

We were parked in a Macy’s car park when I got to hear photographer Thomas Ingersoll speak about his epiphany of determination on a call; ‘if you were a business, would you employ you? How many hours do you actually put into yourself as a business?’ It struck me as one of those instances when you think you're doing more work than you actually are, for those of you who want to see your time input, take a look at the Hours Tracker app.

I never expected anything other than perhaps an email from the application, instead I ended up in Kentucky for a surreal week with some ridiculous to comprehend memories; attending a yoga shoot with a woman due to give birth the next day, smashing furniture in the living room for a fire, pulling down a ceiling, meeting artists whose work I followed online, having some form of bourbon almost every day and a party I still don’t believe happened. It’s safe to say no job interview will compare.

After I arrived back home I got an email from Clay. I was offered the internship, however, I was unable to secure a Visa for the stay. So, to my dismay I had to decline. I'm forever grateful to all of the people I met over there for making my stay so pleasant and to Clay, Alex, Chris and all the interns for the hospitality.

Strangely enough, I never took many photographs in Kentucky, but I came back a better photographer.

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The Commandments of 2018

- Don’t expect it to happen. Make it happen.

- Set weekly, monthly & yearly goals. Break the mountain into hills.

- Fail, you’ll never learn harder than when you do.

- You never build muscle by lifting the same weight.

- Never stop... Never

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